I filled some plastic eggs with magnets, and some with toys, then challenged the boys to work out which eggs were which. They weren’t allowed to use a large magnet or magnetic wand.


  • Magnets
  • Grapat eggs
  • Plastic eggs
  • Hula hoops


I put magnets inside 5 plastic eggs, then some grapat eggs inside another 5 plastic eggs. I mixed them up and spread them out on the grass outside, leaving enough space that the magnetic eggs wouldn’t attract each other.

I asked Ioan and Finn to shake an egg and try and work out whether it was magnetic or not just from the sound. There were two hula hoops set out, one empty and one with a large magnet inside. They have previously used hula hoops to create a Venn diagram classifying sea and land dwelling creatures, so this simple set up was enough for them to know which category was which.

Finn spotted that as he placed one of the eggs near the magnet, it stuck to it. Now that they knew that the stripy hoop was for magnetic, and the yellow hoop was for non-magnetic eggs, I removed the magnet from the stripy hoop.

Once they had found 5 eggs that they thought were magnetic, Finn decided the others must all be non-magnetic by default. They put the remaining eggs in the ‘non magnetic’ hoop.

After sorting the eggs by sound alone, I asked them to push the eggs in the yellow non-magnetic hoop together. By touching the eggs to each other, they used a process of trial and error to work out which of the eggs were magnetic and which were not.

Once they had finished, they enjoyed playing with the magnets, seeing how many they could pick up at once.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Science Year 3 programme of study

Forces and magnets

  • observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others